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Getting to IAD only 1.5 hrs before departure of Friday evening BA flight

Getting to IAD only 1.5 hrs before departure of Friday evening BA flight

Old Aug 12, 17, 9:40 pm
  #1  
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Getting to IAD only 1.5 hrs before departure of Friday evening BA flight

Leaving for Europe this Friday from IAD (flying British Airways)...flight leaves at 6pm and I leave work at 330 pm, plan is to drive straight to the airport from work (this usually takes me 45 mins with the usual rush hour traffic); i obviously will check in online, but am not sure how much time that will buy me as I will have a bag to check (don't have TSA pre-check). We have always gotten to the airport under an hour with zero issues for domestic flights. Am I truly pushing it here?
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Old Aug 12, 17, 9:48 pm
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Moving thread to the BA Forum
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Old Aug 12, 17, 10:16 pm
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Welcome to the BA forum csj50!

If you are the sort of person who arrives an hour before domestic flights then 90 minutes for the BA service to London is absolutely fine. The deadline for checking in is 60 minutes, so if you have already done that online check-in (and best do that fairly soon after that opens up) and have your boarding pass then you will see that actually you have quite a fair bit of contingency in there. I travel hand baggage only and I'd typically show up about 70 to 60 minutes before departure.

There's no TSA Pre-Check on BA services so #FOMO doesn't apply for anyone here! If connecting on to another European flight note that security checks in the UK are extra strict (by USA standards) on hand carried liquids, and they must be presented separately in the clear bag.
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Old Aug 12, 17, 10:21 pm
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That was quick, c-w-s

In our luggage-laden experience ex-IAD, it would be ~30 minutes maximum for Bag-drop to Gate. However, we have enjoyed the benefits of using the First or Business desks ... the OP might find slightly longer lines for W or Y.
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Old Aug 13, 17, 1:14 am
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In my experience that should be plenty of time. I’ve taken that flight a few times and have never left downtown before 3pm and always made it to the lounge with plenty of time to spare. I’m always HBO but having visited the desk a couple of times to deal with some onward issues the lines haven’t been that long.
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Old Aug 13, 17, 6:43 am
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The problem with your timing --- already extremely tight --- is that you are driving to IAD. Don't think of the 45 minutes drive time to IAD as the operative time, you need to add to the time, finding parking, unpacking your vehicle, walking to the bus pickup, waiting for the bus and bus drive to the terminal. Depending on where you are parking, unless it is the short-term walkable to the terminal, you need to add a solid 20-25 minutes into your equation and I don't see how that works with being at the head of the line by 4:30 PM for a 6:00 PM flight.

Without access to Pre-Check, that is an awfully busy time of day at IAD because you are picking up the start of the European departures as well as late afternoon domestic departures in all directions.

My view is that with the vagaries of DC-area traffic, the parking mess at IAD, and the fact that you have checked luggage, no access to any form of priority check-in or security that this is a significant risk.
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Old Aug 13, 17, 10:49 am
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Thanks for the replies everyone! Often1, we won't be having to go through the hassle of parking, have family picking me up from work that day and taking us straight to the airport...thank god.

Will see if I can leave work earlier (boss hasn't been wanting me to)...if I check in online, I won't have to go to the counter for any reason, correct? I can also drop my bags off curbside? I know there is a deadline for checking in, but what about dropping bags? Can't find anything on BA's site about that.
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Old Aug 13, 17, 10:55 am
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No curbside check for BA (or any other airlines) at IAD, so factor that in. I believe bag drop closes at T-60 to departure. If a visa/passport check needs to be performed, you can do that at the counter during bag drop.

Last edited by edcaya; Aug 13, 17 at 11:01 am
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Old Aug 13, 17, 1:21 pm
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Originally Posted by edcaya View Post
No curbside check for BA (or any other airlines) at IAD, so factor that in. I believe bag drop closes at T-60 to departure. If a visa/passport check needs to be performed, you can do that at the counter during bag drop.
This is very helpful, thank you.

Another question- while I'll check in online 24 hrs prior, what is the point of doing so if you have to go to the counter anyway? Just to ensure them that you're not backing out of the flight?
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Old Aug 13, 17, 1:57 pm
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Originally Posted by csj50 View Post
This is very helpful, thank you.

Another question- while I'll check in online 24 hrs prior, what is the point of doing so if you have to go to the counter anyway? Just to ensure them that you're not backing out of the flight?
About a third of people check-in online in the first few hours OLCI opens. Another third leave it to the airport, and the rest are in between. You get your seat and boarding pass sorted out, and it's the best way to get a seat, avoid the small possibility of a downgrade and increase your small chance of an upgrade. It also speeds up the check-in desk since all they're doing is sorting out the bag, though in the case of USA->UK they will need to scan your passport.
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Old Aug 13, 17, 2:04 pm
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Originally Posted by csj50 View Post
Another question- while I'll check in online 24 hrs prior, what is the point of doing so if you have to go to the counter anyway?
BA has seat reservation fees in economy, premium economy and business. If you don't hold status with BA or any other oneworld member airline and you refuse to pay for a seat reservation, doing the OLCI 24H before the flight increases your chances of getting a decent seat.
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Old Aug 13, 17, 2:05 pm
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Mod note : thread title enhanced (was "Getting to airport 1.5 hrs early for intl flight?") to teflect the OPs question more clearly.
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Old Aug 13, 17, 2:16 pm
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I fly from IAD a lot - usually internationally and in the evening - and I'm usually there 2 hours before the flight leaves, being the cautious type, and then end up spending an hour plus hanging around in the lounge. From the check-in counter to the gate in A/B concourse in 15 mins is something I've done and it seldom takes more than 30-40 mins.
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Old Aug 13, 17, 4:05 pm
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To clarify earlier answers, 1.5 hours will be just plenty (and there will probably be a dedicated desk for your flight, whilst passengers for the later flight patiently queue) for you to drop your bag off, and you do not need to scan your passport at the desk if you have hand baggage only - you can proceed straight to security and the lounge / gate in this case.
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